Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/868

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.



insurmountable obstacles, makes appear more practicable the contention of those who are warring upon the abuses and tyrannies of the present.

Psychology. By William James. New York: Henry Holt & Co. (American Science Series, briefer course). Pp. 478.

The author's chief aim in preparing this abridgment of his larger work on the Principles of Psychology has been to make it more directly available for class-room use. For that purpose he has omitted several chapters and rewritten others; has left out the polemical and historical matter, the metaphysical allusions and purely speculative passages, the book references, and most of the quotations of the larger work; and has added brief chapters on the various senses. By these changes he believes that his presentation of the subject as a "natural science" has gained in clearness by its extrication from so much critical matter and its more simple and dogmatic statement. His definition of psychology is "the description and explanation of states of consciousness as such." As a natural science it, in common with the other natural sciences and in spite of the fact that further reflection leads to idealism, assumes that a world of matter exists altogether independently of the perceiving mind. Besides this it assumes additional data peculiarly its own, and leaves it to more developed parts of philosophy to test their ulterior significance and truth. These data are thoughts and feelings, or transitory states of consciousness, and knowledge, by these states of consciousness, of other things. Mental facts can not be properly studied apart from the physical environment of which they take cognizance. Mind and world have been evolved together, and in consequence are something of a mutual fit. The special interactions between the outer order and the order of consciousness, by which this harmony has been brought about, have been the subject of evolutionary speculations, which, though they can not so far be said to be conclusive, have refreshed and enriched the subject, and brought all sorts of new questions to the light. The conception that the immediate condition of a state of consciousness is an activity of some sort in the cerebral hemispheres, which underlies the physiological psychology of recent years, is the working hypothesis of this book. After the chapters on the senses, structure and function of the brain, and general conditions of neural activity, the subjects of habit, the stream of consciousness, the self, attention, conception, association, the sense of time, memory, imagination, perception, the perception of space, reasoning, emotion, instinct, will, and psychology and philosophy are discussed; and the conclusion is reached that psychology does not yet stand on solid ground, but is waiting for its Galileo and Lavoisier.

Abraham Lincoln. The True Story of a Great Life. By William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, with an Introduction by Horace White. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Two vols. Pp. 331 and 348. Price, $3.

Mr. Herndon's theory of a biography is that it should tell the whole truth; not give prominence to certain traits or events which flatter a little or brighten the glory of the subject, and withhold others which may have been equally potent in determining the character and fortunes because they are of a darker nature, and may infuse a little unpleasantness into the picture; but to give both sides, and to each incident, whether pleasant or unpleasant, its due prominence, according to the magnitude of its effect on the life as a whole. To him the biographies in the Bible are models, in which none of the faults and offenses of those who are otherwise held up as noble characters are extenuated, but each is related in all its enormity. Mr. Herndon was the life-long intimate friend of Mr. Lincoln and his law partner for many years. He regarded him with a genuine, enthusiastic, personal admiration. He contemplated the book for twenty years, but not being a literary man made little progress in composing it till he put it into the hands of Mr. Weik, whose habits and training were favorable to its successful execution. His purpose is to deal with Mr. Lincoln individually and domestically—as a lawyer, as citizen, and as statesman. Especial attention is given to the history of his youth and early manhood; and in this to give some things that other biographies do not have. "The endeavor is to keep Lincoln in sight all the time; to cling close to his side all the way through—leaving to others the more